Hate the Idea of a Niche Market? You’re Not Alone

You’ve heard it from all the experts.  A niche market is the best way to find success as a financial advisor or planner.

But for many, it feels a little weird to say you have a niche market.

Let’s talk about some of the reasons why.

It’s a funny word.  If you pronounce it NITCH, it sounds harsh.  The “tch” at the end is not a particularly pleasant sound (not to mention that it rhymes with other harsh words!).  If you pronounce it NEESH, it sounds hoity-toity!

The word “niche” is derived from the French word nicher, which means “to make a nest.”  That makes sense when you think of a niche in a wall.  Gradually, it also came to mean that someone found their sweet spot.  But somewhere along the way (probably in the last 20 years), a niche came to mean a market segment.

Advisors don’t like saying no.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to say no to someone, especially when they want to be your client.  This is particularly true when you operate from a scarcity mindset.  If you became an advisor because you wanted to help people, saying “no” to someone can feel like it’s the opposite of your stated purpose.

It feels elitist.  When you commit to working only with certain clients, you may come across as thinking others are unworthy of being your clients. As a result, you may feel like the doorman at a nightclub: “This person can come in, but you’re not good enough…”

“I want it all.” When you are in growth mode (particularly for advisors who are just starting out), you want as many clients as you can find.  Having more clients means having more revenue, and you want to grow, grow, grow.

I’ll talk about the specific benefits of having a niche next week. But in the meantime, if you are stuck on some of the points above, here are two ways to approach it:

  1. Try “specialization.” Sometimes changing the word can have a real impact.  Do you think heart surgeons are elitist?  Or are they wrong for saying “no” to someone with a torn rotator cuff? Not at all!
  2. Make it a portion of your practice. By doing so, you can focus your marketing efforts on the niche, but you don’t have to say “no” to someone you are well-suited to help.  Eventually, you can dedicate more time to your niche as you find greater and greater success.

What are your thoughts? What has held you back from pursuing a niche?

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